By Kate Tummarello - 08/22/14 09:09 AM EDT
A group of 52 mayors is encouraging federal regulators to approve Comcast’s proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable.
The letter was led by Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia — where Comcast’s headquarters are located — and includes mayors from Charleston, S.C.; Austin, Texas; Miami; Denver; Buffalo, N.Y. and Anaheim, Calif.
“Each of us represents a city that has worked with one of these companies and knows them to be stalwart community partners who contribute to, and invest in, the communities in which they do business,” the group said.
In a statement announcing the letter, Nutter praised Comcast and called its proposed merger a "crucial transaction."
“As Mayor of the city in which Comcast is headquartered, I proudly and enthusiastically support this business transaction because Comcast has always been a great corporate citizen in Philadelphia," he said.
“The merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast will lead to improved services and increased investment in existing Comcast markets."
The mayors' letter pointed to Comcast’s pledges to expand Internet services for low-income consumers as well as the company’s oft-invoked defense that it and Time Warner Cable do not compete in any markets, meaning no market would lose a competitor.
“This transaction not only will avoid any loss of consumer choice but also will create a stronger, larger competitor in the marketplace that should bring new choices to our citizens,” the group wrote.
The mayors also noted that other Internet providers — including AT&T and Google — have expanded their high-speed offerings after Comcast’s proposed merger was announced.
“These investments, and more like them, are critical to our communities and should be strongly encouraged — as this transaction does,” the letter said.
“In other words, we believe that the benefit to our communities is even larger than the expanded investments of the two particular companies involved.”
Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced their plans to merge earlier this year and were met with criticism from public interest groups who slammed the deal for combining two of the country's largest cable and Internet companies.